I am from Brooklyn New York, born, raised and damn proud of it. I am a New York sports fan. And most of all I am a New York Knicks fan?gotta stay true, I am down with the orange and the blue.
It’s that time of the year again?NBA playoff time?and the Knicks are back in the hot seat, looking to knock off the Toronto Raptors and move on to play the Philadelphia 76ers.
This year, however, I am approaching the NBA playoffs differently than I have in the past. I am trying not to invest my emotions in my team because there is too much at stake and, quite frankly, I just can’t take it anymore. I am losing my sanity. I decided that if I had any chance at trying to fix this problem I had to figure out where it all began. So like anyone would do in my position I began to look at my Knicks fan past. It was there that I realized I have been plagued by a terrible curse.
It all started back in 1994. I was still a boy at the time and my beloved Knicks were playing Houston in Game Four of the NBA championship. Let me backtrack for a second. I have season tickets at the Garden and have since the late ‘80s, so I had already seen my fair share of heart-wrenching games. However, this night was to be one of the worst. Michael Jordan was gone, off on his first retirement, so the Knicks had finally been able to make it to the finals, and I, as the die-hard fan that I am, was sure that my team was gonna pull off a championship victory for me and for my hero, Patrick Ewing. This was my team. A true Knicks team that all fans will remember. We had Oakley and Mason, Starks and Derek Harper. These were my guys. They definitely couldn’t let me down, could they? Well they did that night. The Knicks lost to Houston behind a fantastic game by Sam Cassell. I was heart broken. The Knicks would take the series to seven, but Starks missed a hundred threes and we ended up losing the series.
Fast forward to a year later. The Knicks were playing their hated rival the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, and there I was once again at the Garden ready to see my team power through this series and head back to the Eastern Conference finals. The game was great, the pace was furious and in the end my Knicks looked poised to clinch a victory up six points with 16 seconds left on the clock. But once again, it wasn’t to be. As I was walking from my seat to the exit, Reggie Miller did the impossible, scoring eight points in the final moments of the game, defeating the Knicks. Even though all Knicks fans know that Miller pushed Greg Anthony on the in-bounds pass to set up that second three, there was nothing we could do. Patrick Ewing went on to miss a series ending lay up in game seven and the Knicks lost again.
The last game that I will talk about, although I could go on for days, is the final game of the 1999 finals in which the Knicks were once again playing a team from Texas, the San Antonio Spurs. This was the first time I had been away from home when the Knicks were in the playoffs and they had made it all the way to the finals, so I was furious that I wasn’t there. I was on a summer study trip to China with my high school and could not be at the game, so instead I was forced to wake up at eight in the morning to go to a sports bar in China where I could watch the matchup. Now, I know that the NBA is popular in China, but I did not expect to find hundreds of Chinese Spurs fans in the sports bar that morning. Once again, I was wrong. There they were, throngs of them decked out in Spurs gear and yelling anti-Knicks chants in Chinese no less. I couldn’t even yell back coherently, as my Chinese was still poor. The Knicks were down 3-1 in the series and needed a win in order to send it back to San Antonio. Well, let’s just say that there were a lot of happy Chinese fans that morning as the Knicks fell to San Antonio in five. Now I had seen the Knicks lose on both sides of the world. It could not get any worse.
Well, to make a long story short, it did get worse. Patrick Ewing was traded last summer, and now every member of that original team that I loved so much is gone. All that I have left is my hope and my love of the Knicks. So what now, you might ask? I will wait. I will wait as long as it takes. I will wait until the day that I can finally raise my hands in happiness and scream, “We are the champions!” Hopefully, I will still be alive by then, and then I can finally die in peace.
One day victory will come.